2011/10/18

NEW NET Weekly List for 18 Oct 2011

Below is the final list of issues for the Tuesday, 18 October 2011, NEW NET (Northeast Wisconsin Network for Economy and Technology) 7:00 - 9:00 pm weekly gathering at Sergio's Restaurant, 2639 South Oneida Street, Appleton, Wisconsin, USA.

The ‘net

1. New Interest-Based Social Network Chime.in Will Pay Users http://allthingsd.com/20111017/bill-gross-new-social-network-chime-in-will-pay-people-to-use-it/ Serial entrepreneur Bill Gross’s latest effort is called Chime.in, a social platform for writing about and discussing common interests. What makes it different from other social network and social news sites is that Chime.in wants to pay people for their contributions…Chime.in, which is a division of UberMedia, plans to sell ads on behalf of users’ posts, giving them 50 percent of the revenue, or will allow them to sell their own ads and keep all the revenue. “I never thought there would be an opportunity as big as keywords,” Gross said in an interview last week. “But social signals are so much stronger than search terms.”…Paying for participation in online communities hasn’t historically worked very well. I asked Gross why he thought Chime.in would be any different. “The biggest example of success is blogs and Google AdSense and Federated Media…Why it hasn’t expanded to communities is because anyone who has tried to build a standalone place missed the social sharing element, so they had to play the SEO game and that doesn’t work.” Gross argued that the Chime.in community will police itself against gamers and crappy content…”

2. Fine-tuning your flight search http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/travel/2016479809_trpracticaltraveler16.html “…Though Google's debut may have been premature, its foray into flight search has shaken up the competitive landscape…Here are some of the most pertinent queries that search engines are currently taking on. What's the ticket price, including bag feees?...escalating fees for baggage, preferred seats and other extras have made some passengers wish they could see the total cost of a flight. Kayak.com has a fix — at least for the cost of checked luggage…Is the train less expensive? Hipmunk.com…automatically includes Amtrak prices and departure times when you search for flights on a route that is also served by the train…When is the cheapest time to travel? Most travel websites now allow users to search for fares on dates close to the ones you initially input, so you can potentially save money by shifting your itinerary by a day or two…you may want to be even more flexible, looking for the cheapest time to travel in the next month…ITA Software's Matrix search tool…lets you select an option called "See calendar of lowest fares."…Though Kayak and other sites also offer versions of the flexible search option, Google's calendar stretches out farther, its results are quicker, and its interface is better…Where can I go within my budget?...Kayak's explore feature…lets you enter your departure city, travel season, budget and maximum flight time and then displays a map showing where you can go within those parameters…When is the best time to book? Microsoft's Bing flight tool does the best job of helping travelers decide when to book by presenting a "buy now" or "wait" recommendation above the results when you search for a flight…”

3. Web design framework scales your site for any device http://venturebeat.com/2011/10/17/foundation-framework/ Foundation, a new framework for web design, helps you make beautiful, consistent experiences across all kinds of personal computers, TVs and all kinds of mobile devices, including tablets and a range of smartphones…As the screen resolution (or browser window size) changes, links become buttons. Images automatically resize. Layouts morph…go to one of the many sites built on Foundation, then simply manipulate the size of the browser window. Take it down to a tablet size, then a smartphone size, and watch the site change fluidly along with you. And you, the designer, don’t have to customize each layout on a device-by-device basis…User experience these days lives on mobile as much as on the web. That’s why Foundation, a new building and prototyping framework for front ends, works across all platforms. Better still, it’s open source software; you can check it out on Github…” [sounds like a marketing promo! – ed.]

Gigabit Internet

4. Samsung and Micron’s new Hybrid Cube Memory http://gigaom.com/2011/10/06/samsung-and-microns-new-hybrid-cube-memory-tech-is-greener-and-faster/ Memory chip giants Samsung and Micron have joined forces to create a new type of memory chip designed for high performance computing in a world with much faster broadband networks…they have formed the Hybrid Memory Cube Consortium to build a chip that can send information from memory chips to the CPU cores 15 times faster than current memory technology…The chip industry…hasn’t been able to make memory chips fast and dense enough to feed the cores enough information to keep up with the CPU’s capabilities. So chips are left with is a massively large brain that stands idle sometimes while it waits for information…Many companies…are looking for ways to solve the what the industry calls the memory bandwidth problem. Samsung and Micron’s contribution with Hybrid Cube Memory is to deliver a chip that can send 15 times more data than a common DDR3 DRAM module used today…its new technology will use 70 percent less energy per bit than existing DDR3 DRAM technologies…Hybrid Memory Cube guys are approaching it with…a different type of architecture. The logic layer sits on the bottom, and the memory is densely stacked on top in a cube…Rethinking the way memory chips are built allows for massive improvements in performance. That, in turn, will…help computers take full advantage of the coming improved speeds in broadband network bandwidth (pumping a gigabit connection to server doesn’t help if the processor inside can’t pull information in for processing at gigabit speeds). It will also help support the gear that is needed to deliver that bandwidth…”

5. New wireless router targets high-end applications http://www.itweb.co.za/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=48309:new-wireless-router-targets-highend-applications A new wireless dual-band gigabit router, targeted at high-end applications, has been released…The Netgear WNDR4000 N750 router is designed to tackle tasks such as large file transfers, streaming HD video and multiplayer gaming, while delivering wireless speeds of up to 450 megabits-per-second (Mbps). Dual-band technology allows both 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands to run concurrently, ensuring top speeds…the device also offers ultra-fast, gigabit speed, wired connections via four gigabit Ethernet ports. “Total combined wireless speeds of up to 750Mbps on both bands are possible…Other features of the Netgear N750 router include Netgear's own ReadyShare data storage access facility, giving the router the ability to connect universal serial bus (USB) storage devices to the network, thus facilitating the sharing of multimedia and data files.…”

Security, Privacy & Digital Controls

6. NYTimes Sues The Federal Government For Refusing To Reveal Its Secret Interpretation Of The PATRIOT Act http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20111010/04043716279/nytimes-sues-federal-government-refusing-to-reveal-its-secret-interpretation-patriot-act.shtml “…Senators Ron Wyden and Mark Udall have been very concerned over the secret interpretation the feds have of one piece of the PATRIOT Act. They've been trying to pressure the government into publicly explaining how they interpret the law…reporter Charlie Savage of the NY Times filed a Freedom of Information Act request to find out the federal government's interpretation of its own law... and had it refused. According to the federal government, its own interpretation of the law is classified. What sort of democracy are we living in when the government can refuse to even say how it's interpreting its own law? That's not democracy at all…Savage and the NY Times have now sued the federal government for not revealing its interpretation of the PATRIOT Act, pointing out that if parts of the interpretation contain classified material, the Justice Department should black that out and reveal the rest, but simply refusing to reveal the interpretation entirely is a violation of the Freedom of Information Act. You can bet that the feds will do everything they can to get out of this lawsuit, just as they did with the various lawsuits concerning warrantless wiretapping…I'm curious how anyone can make the argument that the US government should not reveal how it interprets the very laws under which it's required to operate.”

7. Government Aims to Build a ‘Data Eye in the Sky’ http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/11/science/11predict.html “…in his “Foundation” series, the science fiction novelist Isaac Asimov invented a new science — psychohistory — that combined mathematics and psychology to predict the future. Now social scientists are trying to mine the vast resources of the Internet — Web searches and Twitter messages, Facebook and blog posts, the digital location trails generated by billions of cellphones — to do the same thing…researchers believe that these storehouses of “big data” will for the first time reveal sociological laws of human behavior — enabling them to predict political crises, revolutions and other forms of social and economic instability, just as physicists and chemists can predict natural phenomena…The government is showing interest in the idea…seeking ideas from academic social scientists and corporations for ways to automatically scan…publicly accessible data, including Web search queries, blog entries, Internet traffic flow, financial market indicators, traffic webcams and changes in Wikipedia entries. It is intended to be an entirely automated system, a “data eye in the sky” without human intervention…A similar project by their military sister organization, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or Darpa, aims to automatically identify insurgent social networks in Afghanistan… “Big data allows one to move beyond inference and statistical significance and move toward meaningful and accurate analyses,” said Norman Nie, a political scientist who was a pioneering developer of statistical tools for social scientists and who recently formed a new company, Revolution Analytics…”

8. Sony halts 93,000 online accounts in new breach http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5jWBrhXLL92iLhfr4FrxUmWcy9DMQ Sony said on Wednesday it suspended 93,000 accounts on its online entertainment networks after detecting a wave of unauthorised sign-in attempts, months after a huge breach forced it to halt some services. The attack took place between October 7 and 10 and succeeded in matching valid sign-in IDs and passwords from about 93,000 accounts on its PlayStation Network, Sony Entertainment Network and Sony Online Entertainment services. Sony said credit card details associated with those accounts were not compromised as a result of the hacking incident…”

9. German State Confesses To, Downplays Government Spyware http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/10/11/1322202/German-State-Confesses-To-Downplays-Government-Spyware “…[The] Bavarian Interior Minister [confirmed] that state officials had indeed used the software, but argued that the use had been conducted legally. [...] [A] lawyer said his client had had the software in question installed on his computer during a customs check. That software, which could be legally used for monitoring telecommunications, had been altered to allow it to grab screen shots…” http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2011/10/warrantless-phone-searches/ California Gov. Jerry Brown is vetoing legislation requiring police to obtain a court warrant to search the mobile phones of suspects at the time of any arrest. The Sunday veto means that when police arrest anybody in the Golden State, they may search that person’s mobile phone — which in the digital age likely means the contents of persons’ e-mail, call records, text messages, photos, banking activity, cloud-storage services, and even where the phone has traveled…He cites a recent California Supreme Court decision upholding the warrantless searches of people incident to an arrest…“The courts are better suited to resolve the complex and case-specific issues relating to constitutional search-and-seizure protections,” the governor wrote. Because of that January ruling from the state’s high court, the California Legislature passed legislation to undo it…The Assembly approved the bill 70-0 and the state Senate, 32-4. The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), was flummoxed by Brown’s action. “It was a curious veto message suggesting that the courts could resolve this more effectively than the state Legislature…” [if you combine these two articles and extrapolate a year or five years, do you think it will be a smart idea to put an “Easy Wipe” app on your smartphone or tablet to delete all data and personally identifiable info on your mobile device before you give the device to a law enforcement person, and will that act of wiping data automatically result in a fine or imprisonment? And don’t forget to reinstall Easy Wipe again when you get the mobile device back to get rid of anything installed by law enforcement. – ed.]

Mobile Computing & Communicating

10. AT&T's Toggle to deliver enterprise apps to Android phones http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9220690/AT_T_s_Toggle_to_deliver_enterprise_apps_to_Android_phones AT&T…announced…a new service, called Toggle, that will securely run enterprise apps like email on any Android phone a worker chooses to buy. The service will run on technology developed by Enterproid, a company that just last week received funding from Google, Qualcomm and Comcast. End users with Toggle will see two separate personas on their Android phones. One includes enterprise-grade email, calendar, contacts and messaging apps and a browser, all of which can securely access corporate data. The other is the open Android platform, where users can download and use any app they please…IT administrators…will be able to manage which employees have access to which company resources, remotely delete or add business applications to the devices, and remotely wipe corporate data stored on the phone…The service will work on phones running Android 2.2 or higher…While the service only works on Android phones now, Enterproid is developing a client for iPhones and may target other operating systems. In a couple of weeks it also plans to offer the service directly to end users and enterprises under the Enterproid brand…”

11. Smartphones and Tablets Are 7 Percent of U.S. Digital Traffic, iPad is 97% of tablet traffic http://www.comscore.com/Press_Events/Press_Releases/2011/10/Smartphones_and_Tablets_Drive_Nearly_7_Percent_of_Total_U.S._Digital_Traffic comScore…released the report Digital Omnivores: How Tablets, Smartphones and Connected Devices are Changing U.S. Digital Media Consumption Habits. The report analyzes how…consumers utilize a growing number of devices to consume digital content…popularization of smartphones and the introduction of tablets and other web-enabled devices – collectively termed ‘connected devices’ – have contributed to an explosion in digital media consumption…we have also seen the rise of the ‘digital omnivores’ – consumers who access content through several touchpoints during the course of their daily digital lives…The share of non-computer traffic for the U.S. stood at 6.8 percent in August 2011, with approximately two-thirds of that traffic coming from mobile phones, and tablets accounting for much of the remainder…more than one third (37.2 percent) of U.S. digital traffic coming from mobile phones occurred via a WiFi connection…tablets, which traditionally required a WiFi connection to access the Internet, are increasingly driving traffic using mobile broadband access…half of the total U.S. mobile population uses mobile media…those who browse the mobile web, access applications, or download content grew 19 percent in the past year…iPads delivered 97.2 percent of all tablet traffic in the U.S. iPads have also begun to account for a higher share of Internet traffic than iPhones (46.8 percent vs. 42.6 percent of all iOS device traffic)…The incremental reach through mobile and connected devices should not be underestimated…”

12. Tablets, smartphones cited as key factor for explosive growth in the 2- to 17-year-old demographic http://www.gamespot.com/news/6339598/kids-gaming-market-on-the-rise-npd “…NPD's study, titled Kids and Gaming 2011, reveals that kids aged 2 to 17 are the fastest-growing gaming demographic segment in the US, with adoption rates increasing 12.68 percent since 2009. The industry tracking firm notes this figure is well above that of the population growth for the same demographic in the US, which stands at 1.54 percent over the same period of time. 2011 figures state that 91 percent of kids play games, compared to 82 percent in 2009. Among the 2- to 17-year-old segment, the top growth was seen among kids aged 2 to 5, which has increased 17 percent since 2009. NPD said that the female gamer contingent and teens aged 15 to 17 also fueled growth…Mobile devices are a key driver for the influx of gamers within this segment, NPD's study found. Gaming on traditional mobile handhelds has seen a marginal increase over the past two years, but smartphone and tablet gaming has seen substantial growth, rising from 8 percent to 38 percent over the same period…”

13. Grocers Are Testing Smartphones http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111903532804576568811114380144.html?mod=googlenews_wsj Supermarkets—recognizing that many customers use their mobile telephones to compare prices and check lists as they shop—have begun to experiment with smartphone-related technology. The stores hope to use apps, high-tech bar codes called Quick Response Codes and other technologies to drive sales and lower costs just as millennials, who grew up using electronic devices, are becoming a bigger percentage of their shopping base…Grocers have considered incorporating new technologies into the shopping experience for some time, but the industry has small margins and many stores don't have big technology budgets…But building their programs around smartphones will allow them to break into the space without investing a lot of money. In addition, according to Agata Kaczanowska, an industry analyst with IBISWorld, making the shopping experience easier will help the grocers to boost customer loyalty…Ahold has started a pilot program at three Stop & Shops in Massachusetts that enables customers who download an iPhone app to scan the bar codes of each item they're buying and bag the items as they continue to shop…Having customers use their own smartphones has eliminated a huge hurdle in terms of cost…Peapod says about 10% of its orders come via mobile devices…Geolocation is also coming into play inside supermarkets, and grocery-chain Meijer is adding such capabilities to its current app…In its current form, the app helps customers locate products on their shopping lists, helping to alleviate one of the major frustrations food shoppers have…While analysts say the business case for high-tech grocers exists—it allows real-time marketing, geolocation within aisles and instant coupon delivery—customer behavior hasn't caught up yet…”

14. BlackBerry users revolt against RIM, haven't had email for two days http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2011/oct/11/blackberry-users-revolt-against-rim “…RIM is facing a user revolt after tens of millions of users in Europe, the Middle East and Africa suffered a second day without services such as BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), as the company struggled with problems at its hub in Slough, Berkshire. The company also revealed that the areas affected now include South America, with users in Brazil, Chile and Argentina suffering loss of service. With more than 70 million subscribers to its services around the world, RIM may have suffered lasting damage to its reputation. Reaction on social networks suggested that some users are considering moving to other platforms, such as Android phones or Apple's iPhone, which are not reliant on RIM's centralised service for connectivity…” http://www.informationweek.com/news/global-cio/interviews/231900785 “…Lazaridis says that "root cause analysis" is still ongoing. In his words: "A dual, redundant, high-capacity core switch designed to protect the core infrastructure failed." This apparently caused outages and delays in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, India, Brazil, Chile, and Argentina. "This caused a cascade failure in our system. There was a backup switch, but the backup did not function as intended and this led to a backlog of data in the system. The failure in Europe in turn overloaded systems elsewhere. When we restarted the system based in Europe, the queue processing took longer than expected." This, in turn, caused service outages everywhere else, including the United States…He pointed out a 99.97% service level over the past 18 months, and promised that RIM is doing everything in its power to aggressively minimize the risk of a re-occurrence. Specifically, RIM will work with the vendor to "correct the particular failure mode in the switch that occurred Monday," audit the infrastructure, and continue to investigate root cause analysis…” http://www.nj.com/business/index.ssf/2011/10/blackberry_outage_can_teach_us.html “…I have a BlackBerry…But whether it is an iPhone, BlackBerry or other smart phone device, clearly the way we have come to communicate is largely dominated by technology…when problems with BlackBerry started recently, it raised a whole range of…communication issues…I was leading a communication and leadership seminar when it became clear that e-mails were not coming through on BlackBerry. So, while the iPhone folks were oblivious — and just a bit smug — about the situation, those of us using BlackBerry were panicking. Dozens of people in the seminar, which ironically was focusing on the need to be more "present" in our every day business communication, kept checking their devices…Technology breaks down. It happens all the time, and when it does, there is virtually nothing you can do about it. It is beyond your control. But what IS in your control is how you deal with it…”

15. RIM Unveils New Operating System to Challenge Apple, Google http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2011/10/18/bloomberg_articlesLTA3JE6S972C.DTL Research In Motion Ltd., looking to regain sales lost to Apple Inc. and Google Inc., unveiled a new operating system designed to help developers create applications for its PlayBook tablet computer and new smartphones. The software, called BlackBerry BBX, bridges RIM's current BlackBerry operating system and its newer QNX platform…That should remove developer "roadblocks" and make it easier for them to build applications for RIM. Lazaridis didn't say when the new BBX program will be available…”

16. Verizon unveils DROID RAZR by Motorola http://www.bgr.com/2011/10/18/verizon-unveils-droid-razr-by-motorola-pre-orders-begin-october-27th-for-299-99/ Verizon Wireless announced the DROID RAZR by Motorola…a brand new Android 2.3.5 (Gingerbread) smartphone that will take advantage of the carrier’s 4G LTE network. The device is equipped with a dual-core processor clocked at 1.2GHz, a Super AMOLED Advanced display with a qHD resolution, 32GB of memory including 16GB of on-board storage and a 16GB microSD card, Bluetooth 4.0, an 8-megapixel camera capable of recording 1080p video, a front-facing “HD” camera for video chat and support for sharing its 4G LTE connection using Verizon’s Mobile Hotspot feature. The DROID RAZR is also covered with a water-repellant nanocoating that protects the phone from everyday spills…the DROID RAZR is the thinnest LTE phone yet and measures just 7.1mm thick…”

Apps

17. The future, and death, of apps http://www.canadianbusiness.com/blog/tech/47291--the-future-and-death-of-apps “…The Boston Globe’s new website…fits every browser size like a well-tailored suit. It’s called responsive web design, and it could be the next big thing in web development. In the process, it could also reveal that apps—despite being all the rage in 2011—are nothing more than a passing phase…The idea of splintering your product to suit every new platform is quite ludicrous…at least in the long run. The point came up when talking about the Financial Times’ decision to abandon app stores, instead directing people to a web-based app. The new HTML5-driven app has been a huge success in a short amount of time, garnering over 700,000 users and becoming more popular than the now-abandoned Apple App Store version…app stores could become a thing of the past as quickly as they were heralded as the way of the future…FT still has different pages for different platforms; there’s an iPad page, an iPhone page, and…they’ll “soon be making the new FT app available on a range of other phones and devices.” Meanwhile, The Boston Globe has created something of a one-shot solution—with some success…the site works great on the totally untested Nintendo DS browser…Other edge-case unknowns…still don’t load the site pristinely…website architecture shouldn't be static. It should morph and bend and be prepared for all manner of devices, including those not yet invented…”

18. Alfred, The iOS Butler, Serves Up Serendipity On A Silver Platter http://techcrunch.com/2011/10/10/alfred-the-ios-butler-serves-up-serendipity-on-a-silver-platter/ “…a nifty iPhone app called Alfred…a sort of Yelp meets Pandora: you tell it what kind of restaurants you like, and then it tries to make some solid recommendations…Thus far the application has given 7 million recommendations to users in less than three months. And users have ‘Liked’ two million venues within the application (you can use a Pandora-esque thumbs up or down to further train the app’s suggestions). Apparently those recommendations ring true, too: the app has 550 ratings and a 4-star average on iTunes…94% of the requests that go through Alfred are based on ‘Serendipity’ versus only 6% that are explicit searches…One of the key features that distinguishes Alfred from competitors (like Yelp) is that there’s a focus on requiring little-to-no input from the user. After you’ve gone through an initial training session where you tell the app what you like, it does its best to recommend places to grab coffee, lunch, drinks, or whatever else it believes you’re looking for when you open the app (it pays attention to things like the current time to make this initial guess). Oftentimes it only takes one or two taps to get a quick recommendation…These few-tap queries are what Alfred means by Serendipity, and their popularity show that people really don’t want to have to deal with typing things in manually when they can avoid it…”

19. Xyologic Releases Hundreds Of Reports Detailing Worldwide Mobile App Trends http://techcrunch.com/2011/10/11/xyologic-releases-hundreds-of-reports-detailing-worldwide-mobile-app-trends/ App search company Xyologic is today releasing a total of 220 app download reports, featuring detailed data on Android, iOS and Windows Phone trends…The reports track statistics like the number of downloads per platform/per country, growth rates, country rankings, number of paid vs. free apps published, app revenue and details regarding app publishers’ individual rankings…you can find details as to the top 100 app publishers per platform, including number of apps (free and paid), downloads per month (free and paid) and estimated revenue. Reports are broken down into categories, with separate reports for top apps, new apps and an in-app purchase economy report. These are provided for each platform (iPhone, iPad, Android and Windows Phone)…there’s a lot of data to digest here…the company decided to make these app reports available for free and will continue to do so on a monthly basis. Yes, 220 reports, 4 platforms, every month, for free…”

20. Smartphone ultrasound device launches commercially http://mobihealthnews.com/13767/smartphone-ultrasound-device-launches-commercially/ In February Mobisante announced that the FDA had cleared its handheld, smartphone-enabled ultrasound offering…Since it received its 510(k) clearance eight months ago, Mobisante has been working to put its quality systems in place along with a number of other FDA mandated controls related to product tracking, potential recalls, software updates and more. Zar said that the process took a lot long than expected…The initial FDA clearance process cost Mobisante in the low hundreds of thousands of dollars…The mobile ultrasound imaging system includes a Toshiba Windows Mobile-powered smartphone, an ultrasound probe and the company’s software. Mobisante’s device is intended for ultrasound imaging, analysis and measurement in fetal/OB, abdominal, cardiac, pelvic, pediatric, mucoskeletal, and peripheral vessel imaging. The smartphone-based ultrasound system can leverage both cellular and WiFi to send images for diagnosis, second opinion, or to a Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS) for storage. MobiUS only works on the Windows Mobile 6.5-based Toshiba TG01 smartphone and requires a USB 2.0 port for the probe. Because they lack support for USB 2.0, popular devices like Apple’s iPhone and devices running on Google’s Android OS cannot support MobiUS…Zar is frustrated with smartphone and tablet makers as well as US mobile operators who are not bringing devices to the US market with USB host support. Some phones available in Europe, for example, have full USB support but once the model launches in the US the feature is removed or stripped down. “I’ve heard it’s because of security concerns or that some user will take down the carrier’s network,” Zar said. “Sounds like an attorney is making that decision, not an engineer…”

Open Source

21. LibreOffice gaining momentum, heading to Android, iOS http://arstechnica.com/open-source/news/2011/10/libreoffice-gaining-momentum-heading-to-android-ios-and-the-web.ars LibreOffice, a community-driven fork of OpenOffice.org…is also working on a number of ports, with the aim of bringing the software to mobile platforms and making it accessible through Web browsers…LibreOffice is currently believed to have 25 million users worldwide…Android and iOS versions of LibreOffice are under development and are expected to arrive late in 2012 or early in 2013. The initial porting effort will focus on the tablet form factor, but phone versions could be developed later…Another impressive project that the LibreOffice development community is undertaking to expand the availability of the office suite is LibreOffice Online, which allows users to run the office suite in a Web browser through the Canvas element…Because it depends on WebSocket and the Canvas element, it doesn't work in all mainstream browsers yet…”

22. Open Source Web Server NGINX Closes U.S. $3 Million Series A http://nginx.com/nginx-venture-funding.html Open source web server…NGINX has received $3 million in a fully subscribed Series A…NGINX powers over 40,000,000 domains on the Internet, and over 20% of the top 1000 busiest websites around the world, including Facebook, Zappos, Groupon, LivingSocial, Hulu, TechCrunch, Dropbox and WordPress. NGINX’s unique ability to deliver 10 times performance improvements on the existing hardware — combined with lean architecture — scalability and security has propelled the company’s ascent as the…only-growing web server in the world with a market share of 8.5%...If current trends continue NGINX will soon overtake Microsoft to have the second largest number of active sites…”

23. Open Source Drupal Marks the Spot for eBay’s X.com http://www.wired.com/wiredenterprise/2011/10/ebay-and-drupal/ eBay is the latest tech giant to embrace Drupal, the open source content management system that now runs an estimated 2 percent of all websites on the planet. As eBay formally launched its new X.commerce business unit — a sweeping effort to bridge the worlds of online and offline payments — the company revealed it had moved the unit’s X.com website to Drupal…We found that Drupal offers more tools and does so faster…There were certain tools we needed built, and often, if you go to a single vendor, you just get in line with everyone else. With Drupal, we can tap into a bigger developer community to get the tools we wanted — if they weren’t there already…giants such as Twitter, Intel, Symantec, and Brightcove are running similar developer communities atop the platform. All use Acquia Commons, a Drupal distribution billed as an open source alternative to Jive and other “social business” platforms. The distro includes the core Drupal code as well as various modules — or extensions — designed to foster online communication, in part through integration with Facebook and other social networks…”

SkyNet

24. First steps Towards MMS support for Google Voice http://googlevoiceblog.blogspot.com/2011/10/first-steps-towards-mms-support.html MMS has been one of the constant feature requests since we launched Google Voice and we’ve been hard at work trying to make this happen…Google Voice users are now able to receive pictures and other multimedia messages from Sprint subscribers. The multimedia attachments will display on their mobile forwarding phone and in their email inbox when they enable text to email forwarding in their Google Voice settings. We are also planning on making them display in the Google Voice inbox. We are working with other mobile operators to make this work across all mobile phones…”

25. Can Mobile Search Be as Big for Google as Desktop Search? http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/10/17/can-mobile-search-be-as-big-a-business-for-google-as-desktop-search/ Google’s earnings report Thursday highlighted its mobile business’s growing contribution to revenue. But can mobile ever be as big a business as desktop search? Google says it will, and that mobile is on track to contribute $2.5 billion of its revenue in the next year, or about 7 percent…analysts question whether it could ever catch up with desktop search. People might use mobile phones as much as or more than computers…but they use them differently – which means doing less comparison shopping and clicking on fewer ads…the preponderance of search activity on mobile devices is not monetizable,” said Jordan Rohan, an analyst at Stifel Nicolaus…Searching and clicking behavior is different on mobile phones partly because of the small screen size and partly because cellphone users are in a different frame of mind…new kinds of ads like local coupons, which Google is already offering, change that equation. If Mr. Rohan had…seen an ad offering loyalty points for making a purchase or an ad with a discount for another restaurant nearby, he might have clicked…advertisers tend to pay less for mobile ads than for desktop ads. Google wants to improve that over time…For example, advertisers can build mobile landing pages for people who click on their ads and Google is improving its algorithm for showing ads…”

26. Google Docs Revamps Presentations, Adds 50 New Features http://www.pcworld.com/article/242121/google_docs_revamps_presentations_adds_50_new_features.html Google on Tuesday introduced a new version of its Googlde Docs presentations Web app. The app has more than 50 new features, chief among them…You can add transitions between slides: Not only can you use simple fades to go from one slide to the next in your presentation, but you now have a gallery of fancier 3D effects at your disposal…You can give your presentation a polished look with the new themes that Google has added to the package. A problem with themes, though, is they can give your presentation a "canned" look…You can use the app's new set of drawing tools to build designs, layouts, and flowcharts within a presentation…One of the drawbacks of the new offering is that it incorporates technology found only in the newer versions of popular Web browsers--Google Chrome, Safari 5, Internet Explorer 9 or Firefox 4 or newer…”

27. Google Encrypts Search to Thwart Wi-Fi Hackers http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2011/10/google-search-https/ Google radically expanded Tuesday its use of bank-level security that prevents Wi-Fi hackers and rogue ISPs from spying on your searches. Starting Tuesday, logged-in Google users searching from Google’s homepage will be using https://google.com, not http://google.com — even if they simply type google.com into their browsers…The change means that the communication between a user’s browser and Google’s servers will be wrapped in encryption by default for those logged into their Google account. That means that hackers, school administrators and nosy corporate network admins won’t be able to see what search terms you are sending to the search giant…”

28. Google Rolls Out Security Resources for Internet Users http://www.pcworld.com/article/242115/google_rolls_out_security_resources_for_internet_users.html Surfing the web these days can be like navigating a minefield--you'd like to take some basic security precautions, but you have no idea where to start. Google's new resource, called "Good To Know," aims to be your starting place…"Our goal with the Good To Know campaign is to provide people with practical guidance, like how to select a safe password or keep their online accounts secure,"…The Good To Know website covers a variety of topics, including passwords, phishing, malware, and secure sites. Google also covers safe networks, mobile security, checking Gmail accounts, family and shopping safety, and Google security tools. There's also a Jargon Buster section that explains technical terms to security newbies…”

General Technology

29. AMD FX-8150 Review: From Bulldozer To Zambezi To FX http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/fx-8150-zambezi-bulldozer-990fx,3043.html “…AMD’s FX processor line-up is finally ready for prime time…How much CPU do you really need? Two cores? Four? Six? In many ways, the answer depends on what you’re doing with your PC. We’ve found that most games run best on machines with at least three cores. We know that many video editing apps use as much processing horsepower as you give them…the key to a healthy machine is balance. Balance prevents bottlenecks. We’re long-time proponents of balance (see Paul Henningsen’s Building A Balanced Gaming PC series)…At least on paper, the line-up of processors AMD plans to roll out looks both comprehensive and competitive. There are seven models in the FX family, ranging from the FX-8150 down to the FX-4100. They all center on AMD’s Zambezi design, manufactured on Globalfoundries’ 32 nm node and composed of roughly two billion transistors…The portfolio is most easily broken down into eight-core, six-core, and four-core CPUs (corresponding to four, three, and two Bulldozer modules)…All of the FX processors are multiplier unlocked up and down the line-up, so there may turn out to be some interesting bargains, depending on how aggressively AMD is speed-binning these CPUs…The -8120, armed with eight cores, a 3.1 GHz base, and 4 GHz peak Turbo Core clock, is expected to go for $205. And the flagship -8150, which pushes frequency up to 3.6 GHz base and 4.2 GHz maximum Turbo Core, bears a $245 suggested retail price…So, let’s say someone puts Core i5-2500K and FX-8150 in front of you. The Core i5 costs $220 bucks, and the FX runs $245. Which one do you buy?...I’m going with the Core i5…In the very best-case scenario, when you can throw a ton of work at the FX and fully utilize its eight integer cores, it generally falls in between Core i5-2500K and Core i7-2600K…Sometimes FX manages to outperform the higher-end -2600K, but other times it’s embarrassingly bested by its predecessor in threaded workloads. Toss a single-threaded app at the processor, though, and it underperforms Intel's three-year-old Core i7-920 running at its stock 2.66 GHz…The issue we see over and over, though, is that it relies on software able to exploit scalability in order to compete…AMD validly points out that Bulldozer is an architecture in its infancy accompanied by an aggressive roadmap…AMD projects 10 to 15 percent performance gains per year for the next several years. Just as important as what the company does architecturally, though, will be how software continues to evolve…Piledriver, expected next year, should derive at least some of its advantage from IPC-oriented fixes…Although I’m counting on Valencia and Interlagos to fare better against Xeon in the server space, where threaded workloads are the rule, it’s disappointing to see Zambezi suck down the power of Intel’s highest-end processors under load, perform like its competitor’s year-old mainstream chips, and wear the branding of a family that, eight years ago, actually made Intel squirm…”

30. Mazda Kills the Rotary Engine http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2011/10/07/mazda-kills-rotary-engine/ Mazda will stop making cars with its signature rotary engines after a 45-year production run that included powering the first and only Japanese car to win the 24-hour Le Mans endurance race. Poor sales and the high costs of meeting modern emissions standards have made rotary engines uneconomical to produce…the latest edition of the Mazda RX-8…will end production in June 2012. The Japanese automaker…is the only automaker in the world that makes rotary engine vehicles. Such engines have fewer moving parts and are quieter than comparable piston engines but are more expensive to manufacture and consume more fuel. The RX-8 is the only model in Mazda's lineup with the rotary engine…”

31. Adobe demos incredible unblur feature for Photoshop http://www.geek.com/articles/geek-pick/adobe-previews-incredible-photoshop-unblur-image-feature-20111011/ …Adobe…could make blurred photos a thing of the past…in the form of a new unblur feature that looks to be heading to Photoshop. As the video below demonstrates, Adobe has come up with a new algorithm that can analyze a blurred image and figure out how to correct it. It can handle all types of scenes and even sorts out fuzzy text making it readable again…The technique used is thought to be blind deconvolution, which aims to progressively improve the image by iterating over it many times and using a point spread function. That’s why the analyze step is required in order to perform such processing. Interestingly, this same technique can use multiple images as a source, suggesting Photoshop could add such an option to this unblur feature…”

32. C++11 infused with Java-like multi-core support http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/10/11/new_c_plus_plus_published/ “…C++11 is the first major revision to one of the world's most popular programming languages in 13 years. The update will position apps using the language for coding for the next two decades…One of the biggest changes in the spec helps make C++ a little more Java-ier: the introduction of a standardised multi-core-friendly memory model that Java has had since 2005. The standardised memory model is intended to save developers from having to build or pick their own libraries in order to achieve concurrency in C++11 applications. The idea is to introduce greater consistency in the way apps are built when running on the kind of multi-core processor chips that power servers in data centres and can be found in the smartphones running in your hand…”

33. Putting your logo in a QR code http://hackaday.com/2011/08/11/how-to-put-your-logo-in-a-qr-code/ “…I figured out some of the theory behind embedding logos in QR codes…I decided to try embedding the Hack A Day skull & wrenches inside a QR code. The tools I used were Photoshop, this QR code generator, and Microsoft Paint (I’ve never seen a program to edit individual pixels that has a better UI, so don’t laugh). For this ‘how-to,’ I’m going to walk through the process of modifying a Version 6 QR code. The Version 6 QR code is 41 pixels square, and is a very good balance between the amount of data that can be presented and the physical size of the code itself…why is knowing how the bytes are arranged in a QR code important? The answer is with a high level of error correction, about 30% of these bytes can be complete gibberish, and your phone will still be able to read the QR code…It’s important to include both positive and negative space when designing this logo. If there wasn’t a white border going around the logo, the random black and white pixels would be placed right against the logo…I’m sure someone will come up with a great design that ignores this technique, but I’ll just do it this way for now. After overlaying the Hack A Day logo on top of the color map of the QR code…we physically count the number of 8 pixel cells that are obscured by the logo. Since we’re doing a Version 6 QR code, about 51 of these cells can be covered up. It looks like this graphic is okay, so we move onto the next step: putting a real QR code in this thing. I used this site to generate all my QR codes for this post. It allows you to select the QR version number and the error correction level…” [this post is from August, but was included since QR codes is a topic of current interest for some NEW NET participants – ed.]

DHMN Technology

34. Take control of your phone’s sensors http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2011/phone-sensor-programming-1005.html “…the Human Dynamics research group at the MIT Media Lab has been using the standard sensors in smartphones to collect data about people’s social interactions…the group is making its phone-based data-collection system available as a free, open-source download so that other researchers, and people interested in the burgeoning phenomenon of “self-tracking,” can not only use it but also help expand it…The system, dubbed Funf, has two main components: One is an application called Funf Journal, which runs on phones that use Google’s Android operating system and governs the collection and exportation of sensor data. The other is a set of tools for managing and visualizing that data, which run on a desktop or laptop computer. Funf Journal provides intuitive checkbox menus that allow users to specify, for instance, how frequently a given phone sensor — an accelerometer, say, or the GPS receiver — will collect data and for how long…A self-tracker might want to perform frequent measurements only during the morning commute, for instance…since the raw data generated by phone sensors can be difficult for novices to interpret…Funf Journal comes with a number of higher-level probes that can look for patterns in the sensor data. The “activity monitor” probe, for instance, can distinguish the accelerometer data typical of, say, a phone on the hip of someone being jostled on a subway train from the data produced when the same person is walking briskly or climbing stairs…Funf Journal comes with roughly 30 probes built in…the Media Lab team is eager for developers…to invent additional high-level probes, and probes that use the data generated by those probes…users could…publish configuration settings that they’ve found useful for particular tasks. “You can imagine a free marketplace of these configurations and also of these probes,” Aharony says…Frequent use of a phone’s sensors can quickly drain its battery, so Funf automatically adopts power-saving strategies such as delaying energy-intensive tasks until the phone is plugged in or postponing a GPS reading if the accelerometers and gyros indicate that the phone has remained stationary since the last one…by default, Funf encrypts any data stored on the phone or uploaded to a server. The app can also be configured so that uploaded data remains anonymous…Pentland has been talking to…one of the lead developers of the Google App Inventor, about creating a system with an intuitive graphical interface that would let users with little prior programming experience develop new Funf probes…”

35. Hardware version control using visual DIFF http://hackaday.com/2011/10/14/hardware-version-control-using-visual-diff/ As the Open Source Hardware movement gathers steam, it has become clear that the tools to work collaboratively on hardware are in the dark ages when compared with slick frameworks like Git used to work on software projects. We’ve read a fair amount about this lately, but the idea of visual difference generation for PCB layout is one of the better proposals we’ve seen…the big difference when it comes to version control is that software is text, but hardware is graphic and only represented by text for the computer to use. It’s easy to use the ‘diff’ command to show you what text is out and what text is in, but that doesn’t translate to a schematic. [Windell] is using command-line utilities to produce a schematic that colors changes differently for easy visual detection. This means exporting before and after schematics as PDF files or images, then using ImageMagick to process them. He also points out that there’s a package out there called DiffPDF that will let you compare differences in PDF files automatically…”

36. BioCurious opens its lab in Sunnyvale, CA http://radar.oreilly.com/2011/10/biocurious-opens-its-lab-in-su-1.html “…Sous vide cookers are sort of the gourmet rage at the moment. One normally costs several hundred dollars, but BioCurious offered a class for $117 where seventeen participants learned to build their own cookers and took them home at the end…sous vide cookers are also useful for biological experiments because they hold temperatures very steady. The class used Arduinos to provide the temperature control for the coffee pots and other basic hardware, so the lesson was more about electronics than biology. But it's a great illustration of several aspects of what BioCurious is doing: a mission of involving ordinary people off the street in biological experiments, using hands-on learning, and promoting open source hardware and software. Other classes have taught people to insert dyes into cells (in order to teach basic skills such as pipetting), to run tests on food for genetically modified ingredients, and to run computer analyses on people's personal DNA sequences…All the participants in that class got their sequencing done at 23andme first, so they had sequences to work with and could compare their own work with what the professionals turned up. Experiments at BioCurious are not just about health. Synthetic biologists, for instance, are trying a lot of different ways to create eco-friendly synthetic fuels. BioCurious is not a substitute for formal training in biochemistry, biology, and genetics. But it is a place for people to get a feel for what biologists do and for real biologists without access to expensive equipment to do research of their dreams…one of the staff showed a traditional polymerase chain reaction (PCR) machine, which costs several thousand dollars and is critical for sequencing DNA…A couple BioCurious founders analyzed the functions of a PCR and, out of plywood and off-the-shelf parts, built an OpenPCR with open hardware specs. At $599, OpenPCR opens up genetic research to a far greater audience…After meeting for a year in somebody's garage, they finally opened this space three weeks ago with funds raised through Kickstarter…BioCurious isn't unique (a similar space has been set up in New York City, and some movements such as synthetic biology promote open information), but it's got a rare knack for making people comfortable with processes and ideas that normally put them off…BioCurious is on the cusp of a new scientific revolution.…”

37. Making movable art and robotics a little easier with Arduino http://www.mercurynews.com/entertainment/ci_19056738 Judy Castro doesn't have a background in engineering. But with Arduino, she doesn't need one to make her sculptures move, light up or breathe fire. The San Francisco artist uses the microcontroller and software program to create interactive works of art -- something she once might have paid an electrical engineer thousands of dollars to do…"When I started tinkering with Arduino, it was very easy to understand," she says. "It's actually a lot of fun to work with without being frustrating so you can focus on the aesthetics of your piece rather than the coding."…They created it for artists and others who didn't have a background in programming. If someone has a project in mind, they can be up and running and doing something pretty basic in about an hour. They can see what a microcontroller does."…Arduino has this magical combination of being simple enough that you don't have to be an electrical engineer to do it," Shiloh says, "but complicated enough where you can do very interesting things with it…”

38. Arduino Refrigerator Concept: ReRFIDgerator http://technabob.com/blog/2011/10/13/arduino-rfid-refrigerator-concept/ “…Here’s another take on the smart fridge…that uses Arduino and RFID tags…the refrigerator has a large touchscreen for a door…the concept will only work if the contents are given RFID tags, but once they are, the fridge becomes really useful…not only will you be able to see what’s inside without actually opening the door, you’ll also be able to see a variety of information, like expiration dates, and recipes which use the ingredients you have. The fridge will of course be connected to the Internet, providing price and location guides of nearby stores for replenishing supplies…”

Leisure & Entertainment

39. Wisconsin libraries offer digital checkout to Kindle http://www.jsonline.com/news/wisconsin/wisconsin-libraries-offer-digital-checkout-to-kindle-132028828.html Kindle users can now pocket their favorite titles at no cost from any of Wisconsin's 385 public libraries. A shared library e-book collection of nearly 5,000 titles is now compatible with the bestselling e-book reader Amazon Kindle and all electronic devices supporting the free Kindle app. The entire collection is available to patrons in any of the Wisconsin Public Library Consortium's 17 member library systems…Kindle titles can be accessed from home, work or school, but users need to have a library card and an Amazon account to download to phones, tablets and computers. Users also need a regular wireless connection - Kindle downloads do not work on 3G networks, for now…A committee from a state Department of Public Instruction summit decided this year to allocate $1 million for digital media, primarily e-books and audio books…Wisconsin libraries also offer digital checkouts via a variety of devices, including the Barnes & Noble Nook and Sony Reader…Starting in 2012, DPI has committed $300,000 in federal grant funds specifically for e-books…”

40. Amazon Signs Up Authors, Writing Publishers Out of Deal http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/17/technology/amazon-rewrites-the-rules-of-book-publishing.html Amazon.com has taught readers that they do not need bookstores. Now it is encouraging writers to cast aside their publishers. Amazon will publish 122 books this fall in an array of genres, in both physical and e-book form. It is a striking acceleration of the retailer’s fledging publishing program that will place Amazon squarely in competition with the New York houses that are also its most prominent suppliers…Publishers say Amazon is aggressively wooing some of their top authors. And the company is gnawing away at the services that publishers, critics and agents used to provide…the landscape was in some ways changing for the first time since Gutenberg invented the modern book nearly 600 years ago. “The only really necessary people in the publishing process now are the writer and reader,” he said. “Everyone who stands between those two has both risk and opportunity.” Amazon..is introducing the sort of one-on-one communication between authors and their fans that used to happen only on book tours. It made an obscure German historical novel a runaway best seller without a single professional reviewer weighing in…”

41. Interactive children's TV coming to Kinect http://www.incgamers.com/News/29379/interactive-childrens-tv-coming-to-kinect Microsoft has revealed the next step for Kinect; licensed, interactive children's TV programmes from Pixar and others. The company says it wants to encourage "playful learning" by combining the motion-control peripheral and classic children's entertainment. Pixar are developing a Kinect-exclusive project, codenamed Rush, which will allow kids (or adults, let's face it) to team up with characters from films like The Incredibles, Ratatouille, Up, Toy Story 3 and Cars 2 and "solve exciting challenges"…Sesame Street is also involved, as Xbox 360 plans to film some interactive episodes of the long-running series which will allow kids to directly take part in helping Cookie Monster or The Count with various tasks (probably counting and letter based ones). In addition, the 'Sesame Workshop Curriculum Team' is developing some Kinect-powered interactive books under the name 'Project Columbia'…Microsoft is teaming up with National Geographic to produce some interactive shows with an emphasis on the natural world…”

42. Mysterious Site Creates a Horror Movie, Starring You http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/10/18/mysterious-site-creates-a-horror-movie-starring-you/ There’s a hot new Web site making the rounds that mines your Facebook account and inserts your photo and other information into a creepy video — playing right into our biggest fears about privacy and the information we share online. The mysterious site is called Take This Lollipop. After you give the site permission to connect to your Facebook account, it begins playing a video featuring a sweaty, twitchy man, sitting in a darkened room, using a computer to nose around Facebook. But he’s not browsing through just any random page — he’s looking at your account and getting increasingly agitated by what he’s seeing…It’s similar to the video engine created for the 2004 election by MoveOn, an advocacy group, that let people to customize a faux-news report poking fun at their friends who did not want to vote. Jason Zada, a television and music director…was behind the site. Mr. Zada, whose resume includes interactive campaigns like the “Elf Yourself” videos for Office Max and commercials for Ray-Ban and Coupons.com, said in an interview that the site was a fun side project for him…”

Economy and Technology

43. The Great Tech War Of 2012 http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/160/tech-wars-2012-amazon-apple-google-facebook “…The four American companies that have come to define 21st-century information technology and entertainment are on the verge of war. Over the next two years, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google will increasingly collide in the markets for mobile phones and tablets, mobile apps, social networking, and more…not long ago…you could sum up each company quite neatly: Apple made consumer electronics, Google ran a search engine, Amazon was a web store, and Facebook was a social network. How quaint that assessment seems today. Jeff Bezos, who was ahead of the curve in creating a cloud data service, is pushing Amazon into digital media, book publishing, and, with…the $199 Fire, a direct assault on the iPad…analysts expect it to reach $100 billion in annual revenue by 2015, faster than any company ever…In just a few months at the helm, CEO Larry Page has launched a social network (Google+) to challenge Facebook, and acquired Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion, in part to compete more ferociously against Apple. Google's YouTube video service is courting producers to make original programming…Facebook, meanwhile, is now more than just the world's biggest social network; it is the world's most expansive enabler of human communication…CEO Mark Zuckerberg has an unequaled trove of data on individual consumer behavior that he can use to personalize both media and advertising…As the four companies encroach further and further into one another's space, consumers look forward to cooler and cooler products. The coming years will be fascinating to watch because this is a competition that might reinvent our daily lives even more than the four have changed our habits in the past decade…Over the next few years, each will infiltrate, digitize, and revolutionize every corner of your life, taking a slice out of each transaction that results. This is a vision shared by all four, and it hinges on three interrelated ideas. First, each company has embraced…a vision of daily life that is enabled by, and comes to depend on, smartphones, tablets, and other small, mobile, easy-to-use computers…The second idea is a function of the fact that these post-PC devices encourage and facilitate consumption…So each of these giants will deepen their efforts to serve up media--books, music, movies, TV shows, games, and anything else that might brighten your lonely hours…Wherever and whenever you are online, they want to be there to assist you in your transaction….the third big idea…Data is like mother's milk for Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google. Data not only fuels new and better advertising systems (which Google and Facebook depend on) but better insights into what you'd like to buy next (which Amazon and Apple want to know). Data also powers new inventions: Google's voice-recognition system, its traffic maps, and its spell-checker are all based on large-scale, anonymous customer tracking. These three ideas feed one another in a continuous (and often virtuous) loop. Post-PC devices are intimately connected to individual users…Tech companies are ephemeral enterprises…The best firms stay at their peak for a decade tops…Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google have the potential to be exceptions to this rule. Their CEOs are driven, disciplined, and relatively young (Cook, the oldest, will be 51 in November). All but Cook are founders, and their personalities are such that they seem unlikely to get tired or bored by their empire building…But despite this oncoming war, in which attacking one another becomes standard operating practice, their inevitable slide into irrelevancy likely won't be at the hands of one of their fellow rivals…the real future of tech belongs to some smart-ass kid in a Palo Alto garage.…”

44. Kiwi Crate Subscription Service For Kids Activities http://techcrunch.com/2011/10/11/subscription-service-for-kids-activities-kiwi-crate-raises-2-million/ Kiwi Crate…has developed a subscription-based service that produces and delivers hands-on activities boxes for kids. The products are science activities, and arts and crafts projects that are designed to be educational but also entertaining for kids. And Kiwi Crate provides all the necessary materials, ideas and instructions for themed activities. Kiwi Crate’s monthly subscriptions are $19.95 per month, or $220 for an annual subscription. Gift subscriptions for 3, 6 or 12 months are also available. The startup says each crate is designed by a community of parents, reviewed by team of experts, and tested by kids…”

45. Is The Varick Street NYU Poly Incubator The Best In NYC? http://www.businessinsider.com/is-the-varick-street-nyu-poly-incubator-the-best-in-nyc-2011-10 “…The Varick Street Incubator may be a shining example and roadmap for other cities to follow on how to foster tech innovation…it very well may be that the Varick Street incubator is the top place in NYC for new entrepreneurs to call home…The incubator does not ask for any equity in your company. The rent is really affordable and includes a lot of amenities that are not free at other incubators. Best of all, you get access to high quality interns / employees from NYU, potential seed investors, NYU faculty advisors, and assistance from dozens of other private partners involved with the incubator…several serial entrepreneurs call the incubator home and serve as mentors and motivation for first time founders…The incubator has one single goal. To help create great companies that will call NYC home…The Varick Street Incubator would allow faculty to work alongside entrepreneurs in building ventures to bring their research to market. It would give student interns a breadth of experience they would never obtain in the silos of major corporations…Investment Fund and NYSERDA have been to seed a clean energy economy and help diversify the city’s economy beyond Wall Street…NYC Seed also makes its home at Varick Street…NYC Seed provides provide funding and services to seed-stage technology entrepreneurs…The Varick Street Incubator’s first graduate company, Pixable, is a great group of immigrant entrepreneurs and MIT grads who create tools to share and categorize photography within social media…We've seen a number of student interns transition to become full-time employees of Varick companies…the most important but difficult key performance indicators for all of our partners to measure -- are the energy here and the amount of interaction between the companies. We've found that curating this is more art than science…five years from now, we’ll have the knowledge and support of our collectively seeded and funded companies to support new ones. Already many of our portfolio companies who “graduate” to larger spaces remain in touch and help us mentor existing companies, devise programming, and guide our thinking on continuous improvements. We’ve also been charged with incubating more companies who operate in Pasteur’s Quadrant: where basic science is driven by the desire for societal benefit…”

46. In Search of the South's Silicon Valleys http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2011/10/in-search-of-the-souths-silicon-valleys/246864/ “…Everyone knows the legendary tech birthing ground of Silicon Valley in California. Situated near Stanford and the port city of San Francisco, it emerged in the middle of the 20th century as the preeminent place to start a technology business, thanks to the hybrid vigor of military research money and countercultural big thinking. A distinctive culture emerged that's led to the creation of thousands of businesses including Fairchild Semiconductor, Intel, HP, Apple, Applied Materials, Cisco, Oracle, Adobe, eBay, Google, Facebook, Twitter, and many more. Today, kids still stream towards the San Francisco Bay dreaming that they will start up next big thing. Silicon Valley seems to argue for the primacy of place for innovation. It matters where you are, it would seem. But there are countervailing trends. Open source tools, diffusion of programming skill, and the Internet itself mean that you no longer need to live near the people you work with. As importantly, ideas spread more easily than they ever have…Perhaps other regions can recreate the success of Silicon Valley at a smaller scale, bringing together researchers, young talent, lots of ideas, a risk-taking culture, and venture capital to drive economic growth. That's the big idea behind The Atlantic's road trip through the South looking for startups and technologies below the Mason-Dixon line…We started this project on a hunch. I heard Chattanooga had made gigabit Internet available citywide. What were people doing with that kind of speed?...We hit the road October 23 and will be bringing you stories from Richmond, Raleigh, Durham, Savannah, Atlanta, Chattanooga, Shreveport, and New Orleans…”

Civilian Aerospace

47. NASA-backed space taxi to fly in test next summer http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/10/11/us-space-taxi-idUSTRE79A63J20111011 A seven-seat space taxi backed by NASA to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station will make a high-altitude test flight next summer…Sierra Nevada Corp's "Dream Chaser" space plane, which resembles a miniature space shuttle, is one of four space taxis being developed by private industry…For the unmanned test flight, it will be carried into the skies by WhiteKnightTwo, the carrier aircraft for the commercial suborbital passenger ship SpaceShipTwo…The test flight will take place from either Edwards Air Force Base in California's Mojave Desert, or from the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico…With the retirement of the space shuttles this summer, NASA is now dependent on Russia to fly astronauts to the space station, at a cost of more than $50 million per person. The agency hopes to turn over crew transportation services to one or more commercial firms before the end of 2016…In addition to Sierra Nevada, NASA is funding spaceship development work at Boeing Co, Space Exploration Technologies, and Blue Origin, a start-up firm owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos…”

48. SpaceShipTwo pushes flight envelope, thankful for ‘feather mode’ http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44936907/ns/technology_and_science-space/#.TpzB3d78WpU “…SpaceShipTwo…provided some heart-stopping moments…but also allowed…Virgin Galactic to showcase the craft's safety features. The commercial space plane made its 16th glide flight on Sept. 29…For the first time, SpaceShipTwo carried a three-person crew — two pilots and a flight test engineer…To begin, SpaceShipTwo was lifted to high altitude by its carrier plane, WhiteKnightTwo. After a clean release from WhiteKnightTwo, SpaceShipTwo immediately entered a rapid descent. Springing into action, the crew deployed the ship's novel feather re-entry system…"Upon release, the spaceship experienced a downward pitch rate that caused a stall of the tails. The crew followed procedure, selecting the feather mode to revert to a benign condition. The crew then de-feathered and had a nominal return to base…Great flying by the team and good demo of feather system," Scaled officials wrote in the flight log…Typically, it takes 11 minutes to land, but this time it was only seven minutes before they were on the ground…"Scaled is looking at the data now, but doesn't anticipate any major issues," Whitesides said. "This is why we flight test, to fully explore the aerodynamic flight envelope…”

Supercomputing & GPUs

49. Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 and the new world of GPU accelerated content apps http://tech.icrontic.com/articles/adobe-creative-suite-5-5-and-the-new-world-of-gpu-accelerated-content-apps/ “…Over the last few years…computer processing power stagnated. Starting around 2005...Photoshop, Illustrator, and Indesign still ran about the same whether it was on a Pentium 4, Core Duo, AMD Athlon X2, or a PowerPC G5. The only program that really pushed the CPU were the video editing and effects programs Premiere and After Effects. For those who used Photoshop…there wasn’t really a whole lot of benefit to upgrading to new versions of CS…When hardware manufacturers started to dedicate themselves to a 64-bit world, Adobe finally dipped their toes into the ocean of “big” processing with Creative Suite 4…In 2008, GPU acceleration was barely talked about. There weren’t any real-world use cases for it…At the 2009 conference in New Orleans however, GPGPU was everywhere you looked…It was glaringly obvious—GPGPU is going to play a huge focus of future computing systems…that future is now; at least in Adobe’s case…we’re going to look at how GPU acceleration has improved between CS5 and the current CS 5.5…For most people, CS 5 is an excellent, current, and feature-rich version of Creative Suite. The massive improvements over CS 4 in both performance and stability, as well as support for modern versions of Windows and Mac OS, make CS 5 what I would consider the “baseline” version of CS…Creative Suite 5.5 is going to be most important for those that want to create content for mobile devices; many of the new features over CS 5 are focused specifically on mobile content creation. Adobe’s new “rental” model that was introduced with CS 5.5 is a game-changer, and may be the perfect solution in certain situations. If you didn’t think you could afford to jump in to Creative Suite before, this may be the chance…with CS 5.5…OpenCL is not yet supported…if you’re an NVIDIA user, by all means Creative Suite 5.5 is the best version of Creative Suite yet. The performance enhancements and new filters and effects that are possible with CUDA acceleration are truly remarkable…”

50. GPUs Will Morph ORNL's Jaguar Into 20-Petaflop Titan http://www.hpcwire.com/hpcwire/2011-10-11/gpus_will_morph_ornl_s_jaguar_into_20-petaflop_titan.html Jaguar's days as a CPU-only supercomputer are numbered. Over the next year, the 2.3 petaflop machine at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Lab (ORNL) will be upgraded by Cray with the new NVIDIA "Kepler" GPUs, producing a system with about 10 times Jaguar's peak performance. The transformed supercomputer will be renamed Titan and should deliver in the neigborhood of 20 peak petaflops sometime in late 2012. The current Jaguar system…currently sits at number three on the TOP500 list with a Linpack reading of 1.76 petaflops. Titan will certainly keep the machine in the top 5, even as machines with tens of petaflops start making their way into the big labs over the next couple years. Titan will also represent the US entry in the echelons of top tier GPU-accelerated supercomputing. As it stands today, three of the top five systems are GPU accelerated: Tianhe-1A and Nebulae in China, and TSUBAME 2.0 in Japan. The current top GPU machine in the US is Edge, a 240-teraflop Appro cluster at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Even Russia, Germany, Italy have larger systems…”

51. In Supercomputing, a Turn to Energy-Saving Graphics Chips http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/10/11/in-supercomputing-a-turn-to-energy-saving-graphics-chips/ “…The straight path of continuing to lash together ever-increasing numbers of microprocessors has hit a wall, because the energy consumed is not only costly, but would also fry the hardware. Oak Ridge National Laboratory, a major scientific computing center run by the Energy Department…said it would deploy a new energy-efficient supercomputer, called Titan, whose design relies heavily on the use of many thousands of graphics processors — the kind of chips originally designed for gaming. Titan has the potential to be twice as fast and three times as energy efficient as the fastest supercomputer in the world today, Japan’s K computer…Titan would be used in research projects including the development of “more commercially viable biofuels, cleaner burning engines, safer nuclear energy and more efficient solar power.” Titan has a hybrid design. It will surround standard microprocessors from Advanced Micro Devices with graphics processors from Nvidia. The first phase of the project will be an upgrade of Oak Ridge’s Cray supercomputer, and the second stage, beginning in 2012, calls for using up to 18,000 graphics processors. The graphics processors can handle more tasks at a time than microprocessors, using less energy. Microprocessors are still essential, but most of the workload is farmed out to the graphics processors. The use of graphics processors, said Ed Lazowska, a computer scientist at the University of Washington, is “revolutionizing high-performance computing, yielding breakthroughs in performance and in energy efficiency…”


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